Monday, August 31, 2009

Menu Plan Monday- Remodel edition

I haven't been posting my menus lately. In part because I've been busy with other things, but also because I figured it's not like I'm really making great meals with no kitchen, and no one wants to hear about that. Well apparently I was wrong, I got an email yesterday from someone who is about to embark on her own remodel, and she asked how we're surviving with no kitchen and not eating out much. So I'm going to post our menu for the week.

First let me share what I have to work with. I have a nice toaster oven that's large enough for my small casserole dishes. I have a microwave, a crock pot, a microwave rice cooker (it was less than $10 at Target I think) and my regular fridge. I don't have a big sink though, so I try and keep the dishes to a minimum, because I am using a tiny bathroom sink which nothing fits in, so I have to wash the crock pot and casserole dish in a plastic dish bin. Our veggies every night are mostly frozen, there are bags in the freezer aisle that just pop in the microwave as is. I've been buying the prepackaged bags of salad as well. I've also got a few prepared meals from Fresh N Easy. They are just in the refrigerated section and the meals are pretty tasty for prepackaged food. The price isn't bad either at around $7 a piece. Each meal is good sized too, they feed us for dinner and have enough leftovers for the kids and I for lunch the next day.

Monday: Chicken breasts baked in cream of chicken soup, broccoli, brown rice
Tuesday: Turkey dogs, fruit, sliced cucumbers, salad. (my kids love the "cucumber chips" as they call them. :-)
Wednesday: Prepared meal from Fresh N Easy, corn, salad
Thursday: Pizza
Friday: Pork Chops (in the toaster oven), salad, broccoli, mashed potatoes
Saturday: Fresh N easy meal, salad, veggies.

Breakfast is usually frozen organic waffles, instant oatmeal, whole wheat toast, with fruit, yogurt etc.

Lunches are PB&J on whole wheat, leftovers, soup, fruit, and once or twice a week I let the kids have a frozen meal.

So yeah, that's what we're eating this week at our house. What's for dinner where you are? Leave me a comment if you participated and I'll come visit your blog. Need more menu ideas? Go to

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kitchen update Part 3: Cabinets and hardware

The cabinets are in! Well, some of them are. They won't be stained until they are all in. The cabinet maker is supposed to be coming today to put in the pantry and I think he's going to start putting in drawers and the putting the doors on. Or maybe he's going to hang the the upper cabinets, I'm not really sure which he was going to do today.

This is the spot where the dishwasher used to be. I hated it there. So now I'm going to have a nice big lazy Susan cabinet instead. The dishwasher is moving to the other side of the sink.

So in other kitchen news, my sink arrived. was amazing on shipping. It was only $2.95 to have it shipped via FedEx, and the website said it should arrive in 5-10 business days. I ordered it Friday afternoon and because of the weekend, I figured it would be at least a week before I got anything. I was pleasantly surprised to find an email Saturday that my sink had shipped. And it arrived Wednesday morning. I would definitely buy from their website again.

What do you all think of these drawer pulls? I think this is what we're going to use. I really like how they look with the shaker style cabinets. I also like the idea of the shaker being pretty traditional, and the pulls being a little more modern. The things in our house are definitely a mix so I think that our kitchen should be too.

Depending what gets done today, I may be back to post pictures later. Unfortunately they will be cell phone pictures like the ones above because someone dropped the camera. It still works in that I can turn it on and off and I didn't lose the pictures on it, but it won't take more pictures. Ugh. We've placed a hold on all non necessary purchases until the kitchen is done and paid for, so I'll be waiting a while to buy a new camera.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Fresh Beat Band aka our new favorite show, sort of

Let me start by saying I'm generally not a fan of Children's TV. I hate watching kid shows. Jeff on the other hand, enjoys sitting with the kids, snuggling on the couch and watching Noggin. That's not me. I'm more likely to sit with them and read books than watch children's programming. Anyway, the point is, I'm probably not the best person to be writing about a kid's show. However I just had to post about the Fresh Beat Band.

In case you're not familiar, it's a new show on Nickelodeon. It features four kids/young adults, named Kiki, Marina, Twist and Shout, singing and playing music while they smile a lot and run around. They are all attending music school and appear to live in apartments next to each other. The show airs at noon, I think. It started last Monday, but we've been seeing videos about it for the last couple of months on Noggin. Amelia loved every one of the videos. She'd get up and dance around like a crazy person. Once they ads for the show started airing, she asked when we could watch it. So I set the DVR to record all new episodes and Monday afternoon at naptime, I put the first one on.

I actually sat and watched most of the episode with her as I wanted to make sure it was appropriate (we don't usually watch shows on Nickelodeon.) Amelia and I had very different opinions of the show. She absolutely loved it. She jumped up and down and danced around for probably 90 percent of the episode. I spent a lot of time rolling my eyes and cringing. For a 4 year old, the show is great. Amelia adored it. She has asked to watch it again at least 10 times. (Most of the time she was told "No".)

While I found it a little hard to watch (the characters are way too perky for this Mom) it seems like it's an okay show for kids. The songs are catchy, and I'm sure I'll wake up singing them like I do the other kid's music I hear. I like that it features so much music and that it seems to encourage my child to get up and dance instead of sitting on her bum just watching. This definitely won't be a show I sit with my kids and watch but I think it's alright.

So I'm curious what other parents think of The Fresh Beat Band. Have you watched? Do your kids like as much as mine does? Are other parents cringing as much as I do when it's on? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Here's a clip in case you haven't seen them yet. (Sorry for the poor quality video, that was all I could find.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

(Not so) Wordless Wednesday!

When I ask Jeff what he wants for his birthday every year, he always asks for pictures of me and the kids. Because I'm a total procrastinator, I don't have time to get pictures of all of us done before his bday arrives, so I've been trying to get a decent shot of me and the kids. Of course I can't ask him to help because it's for his birthday, so they all involve me holding the camera out like a crazy person and then trying to get the kids to look at the lens, not the viewfinder out to the side. ( Don't even bring up using the timer. We tried that. I did not go well.) After lots of trying the past couple of days, this is what we've ended up with. I don't know that I love any of them, but one of them will have to do. Thank goodness for Shutterfly and their one hour photo processing that you can pick up at Target. I love Ant's face in the last one. He was done by that point. :-)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hypothetically speaking

Would it be bad to cover a crock pot with foil while it was cooking? If, say you were remodeling, and your husband packed the lid to the crock pot. And that crock pot was the only way you could cook anything besides the microwave. Would that really be a bad thing? Hypothetically speaking of course.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Oh krap!

That is exactly what I thought when I walked into my kitchen and saw this.

I was busy keeping the kids from helping with the Demo, so I really didn't get a good look until they were all done.

It's a little bit scary. The cabinets are in pieces, the counter tops are in the dumpster and I sold our appliances, so there is no way to put it all back together again. Eep.

The weird pattern on the walls is where the ugly faux brick was. I'm not sure it was pretty when it was originally installed and a bad paint job over the top did not help.

That used to be my pantry. We took it out completely and will have cabinets there. Before it just looked like an odd closet in the middle of the kitchen.

And there's a before picture.

I just keep reminding myself that this will be all beautiful when it's done. For now, this is my whole kitchen. I have a card table I can put up to prepare food on. And our new fridge is in the corner of the dining room. (Yes that's my son trying to run off with the cheerios while I take pictures. LOL)

I know I said I'd update on Fridays but I just had to post these pictures after I had a mini freak out yesterday. I'll be back with another update on Friday.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Kitchen update Part 2: Sinks, Faucets and more

So I finally picked the granite. We're going with the new venetian gold. Apparently, different places have different versions of each stone, and I finally got the samples from my granite place and it's definitely the one I like best.

And here's the faucet I picked. It's from Ikea, although I did check Costco too, thanks for the idea Sarah! :-) If I hadn't found this one, I would have gotten the one from Costco. This one was only slightly more and I like the goose neck faucet the best.

I finally found a sink! Thanks to a home remodel site a friend referred me to, I was able to find some websites for more inexpensive sinks. This kitchen project is totally on a budget, so I was really hesitant to pay $400 for a sink at home depot. Instead I found this little beauty on With shipping it was half the price of Home Depot. And, it's a nice sized sink, the smaller side is the same size as the basins in my double sink now. So, it will be nice to have a bigger sink on one side. The faucet will be offset a bit, the large side of the sink is going to take up most of my counter space. But I think I like that look. I'll let you know when it's all done.

And here's the details in case I need them later.

o Elegant stainless steel undermount sink is a perfect way to spruce up your kitchen
o Sink adds a modern look and feel to your kitchen decor
o Get peace of mind with a durable 16-gauge stainless steel sink
o High quality basin is fully undercoated and padded to reduce noise when in use
o Sink contains scratch-resistant satin bowl finish
o Minimum 34 inches required cabinet space
o Standard 3.5-inch drain holes
o INNER Dimensions: (Right Bowl) 15-5/8" x 18-1/2" x 9" Deep (Left Bowl) 13" x 16-3/8" x 7" Deep
o Total Dimensions: 32" x 20-5/8" x 9" Deep
o Over $75 dollars in FREE products!
o Template for sink cutout
o Mounting and installation brackets
o Two rinse sink grids
o One regular strainer
o One basket strainer

I have my temporary kitchen all set up, and the real kitchen is almost empty. Some things still need to be packed away or put in their temporary home, but the pantry, the fridge and all the cupboards are empty.

I'll post some pictures of the demo process, the temporary kitchen, and the cabinet stain. ( I should get my finished sample tomorrow.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- My two daughters?

Edited: My husband just called and told me to take this post down. LOL Apparently he doesn't think it's fair to our son to post such pictures on the net. Sorry honey, it's not coming down today. Maybe tomorrow.

Mia loves to play dress up with her little brother. Poor boy is going to hate us when he's a teenager and bring out these pictures to show his first girlfriend. :-D

Tackle it Tuesday-Books part 2

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

So remember last week when I tackled the kids books shelves? Well this week it's not the kids' mess I'm cleaning up. It's the office. Unfortunately, Ant's favorite activity lately is throwing things on the floor. It could be books, toys, all the cushions from the couch, it really doesn't seem to matter. He's definitely helped with the mess going on in the office. I know the shelves are still a little cluttery, but we need about 3 more book shelves before we can take stuff off these shelves. Jeff and I are both readers, and while I tend to recycle stuff on, there are ones I keep to reread. And Jeff likes to keep most of his books.

So without further ado, here's the before and after shots.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mama guilt

We had some excitement at our house over the weekend. And it wasn't really a good kind of excitement either. Remember how I'm packing up my kitchen? Well Ant pulled the food processor onto the floor, it popped open and the blade fell out. Mia promptly stepped on the blade. Eight stitches and a whole lot of pain and screaming later and she's good as new, but I feel horrible. I was standing right next to them when it happened, and it was over pretty quickly so I'm not sure what I could have done differently, but I still feel badly.

The odd thing is after the initial gush of blood, it really didn't bleed much here at home. We weren't sure at first if it would need stitches. We did end up in urgent care later that morning just to be safe. I stayed in the waiting room with Ant, and Jeff took Mia back to see the doctor. He texted me from the exam room that the nurse said it didn't look bad at all and the doctor just had to look at it and they'd be done. Then apparently the doctor arrived and disagreed with the nurse. He pulled the cut apart which made Mia scream, and the wound gush way more blood than it had at home. I could hear her screaming in the waiting room. :-( I'm glad I sent Jeff back with her, because he and the nurse had to hold her down while the doctor stitched it up.

So yeah, that's how our weekend went. Mia is really sad that she's out of ballet for two weeks, but she's having fun getting to watch lots of TV and we've been doing huge amounts of crafts and reading lots of stories. We had to go to Ikea this weekend and she got to ride in the stroller while Ant walked, and she thought that was pretty cool.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kitchen update

I'm sure you're all sick of hearing about my kitchen. ( All three of you who ready my blog! ha.) So, I'm going to try and limit my updates to once a week. We'll try for Fridays. Of course, since I'm easily excitable, I probably won't stick to that for long. :-)

So I found a picture of the granite I think I like best with my cabinets. What do you all think? This is a sample of the Giallo Ornamental with a cabinet stain pretty similar to what my cabinets are supposed to be. Whatcha think?

As of now they're starting demo in about a week. Our cabinets are being custom built, so we're just waiting for the cabinet maker to do his thing. I'm not complaining, the longer it takes to start, the longer I have to get things ready here. We did finally pick out a fridge. And we even agreed on it. It's similar to the one Jeff wanted in that it has a ton of features, but I found this one at a great deal, it was almost $1k less than the other fridge, and it was about $500 cheaper than I could find it anywhere else. It's going to live in the corner of the dining room until the remodel is done.

Isn't it pretty? Yes. Appliances can be pretty too. And, it will be very pretty until the kids start putting their dirty little hand prints on it. It definitely has some spiffy features though. Check out this picture.

It seems that I never have enough room for tall stuff in our fridge. See over on the left how the shelf folds up? And on the right, the shelf slides back? That's so cool. And this fridge has an alarm so if one of the wild animals my children leaves the door open, after three minutes it plays a little chime. It's loud enough that I'll know the fridge is open, but it's not so completely irritating that I will want to kill myself while I'm putting groceries away. That's a plus.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tackle it Tuesday-Books books everywhere!

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

My kids love their books. Sometimes, however, I wish they would read only one book at a time. Apparently in our house, you must pull every book off the shelf before you can read. And when you're done reading, and Mom makes you pick them up, you must throw them on the shelf in a heap.

So this week, we are tackling their shelves. Anthony's shelf didn't have any books on it, and Amelia's shelf had too many. So we took all of the board books and put them in Ant's room. I think it looks way better. What do you think? (And yes, more often than not, my son is only in a diaper. That boy hates wearing clothes and really hates wearing shoes. He runs off as fast as he can when I put a new diaper on him.)

The before pictures:

The after pictures:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Make Something Monday!

We've been going a little stir crazy this summer with the hot temperatures. During the middle of the day it's often over 100 degrees. Right now our yard has almost no shade, and has no grass at all. The story of why we dug up the whole backyard is a post for another day. The above picture is what my yard currently looks like. So the point is, we've been trying to find indoor activities to beat the heat. We've been visiting the library once a week and checking out new books; this helps as Amelia is much more likely to sit still and "read" if it's a new book she hasn't seen before. She picks a few books for herself, a few books for Anthony, and I pick a few books that are a surprise for her once we get home.

The other thing we've been doing is lots of arts and crafts and projects. I'm always looking for new ideas for projects. I recently came across this website I wanted to share with you all. It's called No Time For Flashcards and I've already gotten a lot of use out of the crafts on her site. If you have children who are still home for the summer go check this site out. She has a lot of great ideas and they are presented in a way that makes it really simple to do the craft at home.

Today we're going to make popsicles. We made these last week too and the kids love them. To make this you just need some fruit, yogurt, a blender and some popsicle makers like these. We make ours with plain unsweetened yogurt, strawberries and bananas. I thought they were a little bitter, but the kids didn't mind them at all. You could use sweetened or flavored yogurt to make it sweeter. Or you can eat it as is, and just get some best face wrinkle cream to help with the pucker face you'll make. :-)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Even more kitchen decisions

I need to pick out a sink and faucet. There wasn't a lot of selection at home depot, I guess I need to find a plumbing supply store or something like that? Where do people normally go to buy a sink?

I do like these faucets, although every time I see another one I'm amazed at the price. These range from $200 to $350 or so.

And we still haven't made a decision on the granite. We went back today and I took pictures of the actual slabs they have in the yard. Here are the two I like.

The first one is the Giallo one from the post below, and the second is the New Venetian Gold. Maybe I should flip a coin. :-)

And once I decide on this stuff, I need to call and get a new auto insurance quote. I'm not sure how happy we are with our current insurance. I hate doing all of this stuff and making decisions.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

More kitchen picks

Below is the style of our cabinets, and the molding that's going on the top. Ours won't have any glass doors, but the style of the doors is the same.

This is more like the color of the cabinets.

So here's the problem. I can't decide which granite I like. There is some variation in price but not much. These are the four I liked the best at the warehouse. I got to see them in big slabs, I know they look different on a computer screen than they do in a kitchen. But, all of that aside what do you think? Which one do you like best and why. Leave me a comment.:-)


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Wordless Wednesday-

I hate all the weird effects they do to the pictures at the portrait studio. I think the pink circle around the edges looks kinda weird. The pictures I ordered aren't actually like that, but the ones on the CD are. Oh well.